UNC-NC State get rare late afternoon starting time

For only the second time since 2004, the Wolfpack and Tar Heels won't be kicking off at either noon or 12:30

Christine T. Nguyen—The North State Journal
Matthew Dayes reaches out ahead of UNC defenders M.J. Stewart and Cayson Collins for a touchdown during last year's game at Kenan Stadium (Christine T. Nguyen/North State Journal)

For only the second time in 13 years, fans of North Carolina and NC State won’t have to get up early to watch their teams play their rivalry game this season.

The ACC announced Monday that the battle between the Wolfpack and Tar Heels at Carter-Finley Stadium on Thanksgiving Saturday will kickoff at 3:30 p.m., with television coverage on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.

That’s an unusual time for this game, since other than the most recent clash in Raleigh two years ago, every other meeting in the series since 2004 has started at either noon or 12:30 p.m (noon in 2016, ‘10, ‘09, ‘08, ‘07, ‘06 and ‘05; 12:30 p.m. in 2015, ‘14, ‘12 and ‘11).

To put how long a run that is into perspective, consider that the 2004 game was the one in which T.A. McLendon either did or didn’t get into the end zone in the final 30 seconds, depending on whether you were wearing Wolfpack Red or Carolina Blue.

In other Nov. 23 starting times, announced by the ACC and its television partners Monday, Duke and Wake Forest will kick off at 12:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Carolinas and other regional sports networks.

The entire Thanksgiving weekend schedule involving ACC teams is as follows:

Friday, Nov. 24
Miami at Pitt, noon, ABC
Virginia Tech at Virginia, 8 p.m., ESPN

Saturday, Nov. 25
Georgia at Georgia Tech – noon or 8 p.m., ABC – time determined after the games of Nov. 18
Florida State at Florida, noon, ESPN
Louisville at Kentucky, noon, SEC Network
Boston College at Syracuse, 12:20 p.m., ACC Network
Duke at Wake Forest, 12:30 p.m., RSN
North Carolina at NC State, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2 or ESPNU – network determined after the games of Nov. 18
Clemson at South Carolina, 7:30 p.m., ESPN